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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34758

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 11/8/2022

RE: League 1 Under 16

Darren Harper of Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom asks...

Can a linesman encourage their own team? What can be done to stop this

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Darren,

The simple answer is 'no'.

Now, if we're talking about a qualified, uniformed AR, then of course they can't be encouraging any one team - it's important to BE FAIR as weall as BE SEEN TO BE FAIR.

Some referees like to offer a bit of encouragement to players on the field, especially in juniors.

If you're talking about a club AR - that is, an 'unofficial' AR but somebody from the team who is helping out - then they still shouldn't be encouraging the team during the match for all intents and purposes, they're just as much an AR as somebody wearing the uniform.

Some referees might let it go a little, or draw the line if it becomes coaching or excessive, but I think referees should try to put a stop to it. Dealing with that is an unfortnuately reality of using Club ARs.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Darren
Before kick off a referee should speak tp both club linesmen and advise them what he expects from them and the duties that they will carry out. That should include impartiality and not to be getting involved in the game.

A CAR can be scrupulously fair in their own mind, but if they are seen to be yelling instructions or encouragement to their own team, that CAR will not be perceived to be fair and unbiased. The instruction for Club Assistant Referees is say nothing during the game that will cause a problem for the referee and the game.

Should it happen a referee should hold up the game and speak to the CAR requesting that the CAR desist from shouting overt encouragement. Most CARs know what is expected yet I suspect at underage there will be a few who may not seem to act in an impartial way. If the conduct persists a referee would be entitled to remove the CAR and to seek a replacement.

I was at a game recently and no CAR was available from the away team. The referee allowed a substitute to do linesman duties which was limited to ball out of play only. It was clear to me that the sub was biased with some blatantly incorrect flags. It did cause a problem for the referee and I told him afterwards that he would have been better to have taken the flag from the sub and managed as best he could on his own.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Darren,
The perception of fairness dictates a neutral approach, but I have seen club linesman (CL) who are still motivated by their support of the team they are REALLY associated with often hollers out. A club linesman (CL) is NOT a neutral assistant referee (AR bound by the integrity of job performance but often a helpful volunteer even a member of the team or coaching staff or parent trying to assist the referee for clarification of whether the ball is in or out and who last touched it.

I do prefer they bite their tongue on occasions where controversy can be stirred up. If the comments are such, they are affecting the match and require some toning down. As (center referee (CR) volunteer appreciate or not, you request they limit their comments if need be. But to the dad telling his son great job, or saying great hustle red , you just live with some of it.

In town leagues often the TEAMS themselves must referee and act as their own CLs for OTHER team matches as it is part of the league contract to make sure sufficient referees are available. This where codes of contact and contracts read and signed help reasonable people compromise their enthusiasm with respect for the game itself!

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